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SPINVOX ACTIVIST KICKS UP A RUMPUS

THE rumpus surrounding controversial voice-to-text messaging firm SpinVox continues apace.<br /><br />After the firm recently admitted some of its messages are translated into text manually by workers outside the UK, some former customers are up in arms &ndash; and I read on a techie blog that one in particular is spearheading a drive to persuade people to submit official complaints to the Information Commissioner&rsquo;s Office<br /><br />&ldquo;I am troubled by the implications of my personal and business communications being routinely listened in on by strangers,&rdquo; grumbles our activist. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve looked through a few of SpinVox&rsquo;s transcriptions and some of my messages contain information that is extremely personal. Others contain professionally sensitive information&hellip;&rdquo;<br /><br />SpinVox founder Christina Domecq, for her part, insists that the &ldquo;vast majority&rdquo; of messages are transcribed automatically and is adamant that the company is not in breach of any data protection regulations.<br /><br />But the ICO has already written to the company asking it to update the data it holds about how SpinVox processes its information, and is adamant that it will commence a full-scale investigation if it does receive any complaints.<br /><br />&ldquo;It takes a few days for formal complaints to come through the system but we will certainly look into it if any are made,&rdquo; a spokesman tells me. &ldquo;We take our customers&rsquo; concerns very seriously&hellip;&rdquo;<br /><br />Watch this space.<br /><br /><strong>FILTHY RICH</strong><br />It turns out that the swine flu pandemic, though it may be a headache for employers everywhere, is actually proving itself quite a neat little money-spinner for the insurance industry.<br /><br />I hear InsureandGo founder Perry Wilson has just netted himself a lucrative deal with The Big Gig Weekend, taking place at Somerset&rsquo;s Royal Bath &amp; West Showground on 25 &ndash; 27 September, to insure the artist line-up against contracting the pesky disease.<br /><br />Promoter Kevin Newton, a Somerset property mogul, is concerned he&rsquo;ll lose out if one of the artists &ndash; who include cheesy crooners Boyzone and stunning Welsh songstress Katherine Jenkins (right) &ndash; can&rsquo;t play, so he&rsquo;s insured the festival to the tune of a cool &pound;1m.<br /><br />Talk about a silver lining.<br /><br /><strong>DISAPPEARING ACT</strong><br />Has Guardian Media Group HQ turned into a mini Bermuda Triangle?<br /><br />I only ask because Capital Ideas, the first party to go public last week with its interest in buying The Observer newspaper, has encountered its fair share of problems getting a letter through to the top dogs at the group.<br /><br />Capital Ideas told The Capitalist last week it had sent a communication via recorded delivery to Derek Gannon, the chief operating officer of subsidiary Guardian News and Media. At the time, the company&rsquo;s spinners denied any knowledge of having received the letter, but Capital Ideas decided to check up and found it had already been recorded as &ldquo;delivered&rdquo;.<br /><br />Fast forward a few days, and Capital Ideas has now written to GMG chief Carolyn McCall (who must have been pretty miffed she wasn&rsquo;t the first port of call in the first place) and received a non-committal response.<br /><br />Though as GMG points out shrewdly, there was no mention of any previous letter in the missive actually received by Ms McCall&hellip; <br /><br /><strong>BIRTHDAY BOY</strong><br />Well, well, well. Sir Fred Goodwin was back ensconced in his Edinburgh mansion yesterday after returning from his self-imposed exile in France, home alone on his 51st birthday.<br /><br />The public were busy getting outraged about the fact, of course (&ldquo;I see pots of paint being readied as I write,&rdquo; remarked one person on Twitter, wryly). But while it may come as no surprise that a couple of enterprising chaps decided to call in on the disgraced ex-banker on his big day, what might be harder to believe was that they were bearing a colourful iced birthday cake in the hope of wishing him a sincere happy returns.<br /><br />However, the YouTube video of the stunt reveals noone answered the door to collect the tasty delight, so it was left for the crows on the doorstep.<br /><br />Given all the negative publicity The Shred has received since stepping down from Royal Bank of Scotland last year, you&rsquo;d have thought he&rsquo;d be only too happy to welcome in a few fans with open arms.<br /><br />Perhaps he feared the cake would be laced with arsenic?